Humberto is the talented head of carpentry and maintenance at Amigos de Jesús. He has been part of the Amigos de Jesús family longer than most of our current staff in Honduras. In fact, this month, he will be celebrating his 16th anniversary with Amigos. Humberto is humble, loving, and hard-working. He plays an intrical part in keeping the Amigos grounds running properly and is a wonderful male role model for our kids.
Read below to learn more about Humberto and all he is to the Amigos family!
- Hometown: Azacualpa, Santa Barbara, Honduras
- Joined the Amigos de Jesús family in: April 2001
- Role at Amigos: Head of Carpentry and Maintenance
- How did you first hear about Amigos de Jesús?
I found out about Amigos de Jesús through Padrino Ubil. He was working on constructing the building that is now the comedor (cafeteria) and he had hired me to make some wood pieces that they needed for the kitchen. So I made those pieces and I came to Amigos to install them, and that was my first time here. While I was here, they told me they were also looking for someone to install some doors and trellises in the comedor. I offered to do that job and they hired me. And that was how I began here.
- You came to Amigos in 2001, just three years after it was founded. How has Amigos changed from that time?
Wow. It has changed in many ways. When I first came, there were just 8 boys here [compared to the 120 boys and girls who make up our home today!]. Also, the only buildings that were here were the office building and the comedor which was in the process of being built. The school, the new dorm buildings, the volunteer house, none of that was here yet at that time.
- How has your job changed since you first came to Amigos de Jesús?
In 2001 when they first hired me full time after the comedor project, I actually began as a padrino. I worked in that position for 16 months. Then, I found out that they were interested in starting a wood shop at Amigos and so I offered to help with that. Or really, everyone knew that I had experience as a carpenter, so I think it had already been decided that I would help in that area. But anyway, after 16 months of working with the kids, I left my position of padrino and I moved to the wood shop.
- How did you learn carpentry?
I first learned in 1997 when I went to a vocational school near here. After learning there, I went on to work as a carpenter and I have continued learning over time.
- What kinds of things do you make in the wood shop at Amigos?
The things we make the most are window frames, doors, trellises, tables, and benches. And then most recently we've been working on making different things for the new chapel, which has been a big job.
- How many people work in the wood shop at Amigos with you?
Well, before recently, it was just me, along with two of our jovenes (young men), Nane and Ariel. But now there are six of us total. Nane and Ariel, plus three other employees: Mario, Edin, and Martín.
- What is your favorite thing you have made in the wood shop at Amigos?
One of the hardest things I've made in my time here, because I'm a carpenter not a wood carver, was making some angels that Fr. Dennis had the idea for me to elaborate. Fr. Dennis told me about the project and it caught my attention, but I wasn't sure at the time that I would be able to do it because it required detailed wood work. However, I discovered through that project that I did have the ability to do that type of work.
- What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part is always working with wood, of course, but I like Amigos de Jesús because I don't only do wood work, but I am able to work in other areas, too, like maintenance, and of course always working with the kids.
- Do you have a favorite memory of your time at Amigos?
I don't even know which one to tell you because I have so many. I have enjoyed very much working with the jovenes who help in the wood shop. We have had a lot of special moments together.
Also, I just thought of a memory from when I was in my first 16 months working as a padrino. I remember one day it was Sergio's turn to get his hair cut, and it was my job in those days to cut his hair. But he always would hide form me in agro (the farm area at Amigos) because he hated getting his hair cut. He said that the kids at school made fun of him when his hair was buzzed short like we did it. So that day it was his turn for me to cut his hair and I finally found him after walking through all of agro. And of course he was upset saying he didn't want his hair cut short. So I said, "Okay, let's do it like this. First you buzz my hair and then I'll buzz yours. And tomorrow I'll take you to school and we'll both go together with our hair short." And that's what we did!
- A fun fact about you is that your son attends the Amigos de Jesús Bilingual School. Can you tell us a little more about how that came to be?
Yes. I actually have two kids -- a daughter, Kenzy, and a son, Alex Daniel. Alex Daniel is in 5th grade at the Amigos School and I'm very happy to have him in school here. I know he has learned a lot. I wanted my daughter to be able to go here too, but when the BECA bilingual program began at Amigos in 2013, my daughter was already in 6th grade, and the school only went up to 2nd grade at that time. So she was too old.
But with Alex Daniel, he was the right age for the 2nd grade class. I had heard that the BECA program was very good, so I wanted to make sure Alex was able to go there, but it was a little tough to convince Alex at that time. He was already in public school and he told me he didn't want to leave his friends. But eventually I convinced him that he would make new friends at Amigos, and of course he has. I knew that BECA provided a high quality education and that Amigos was an excellent organization, so I knew it was the best decision for him. So now we are both at Amigos every day!